……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Mustard-Roasted Potatoes July 1, 2012

Filed under: Side dish,Vegetarian — krandle @ 8:36 am
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Sometimes, I can look at a recipe and know immediately that I will love it and that it will turn out delicious. One of the only other places I get this sense of recognition, oddly, is on my daily walks to and from work. Sometimes, I see another girl, tromping along in her tennis shoes and business casual attire, hair a mess, carrying a giant bag – and I can just tell we could have a good conversation. Even if we just talked about walking and the homeless people we see and how we think we’re in every tourist’s photo of the Swann Memorial Fountain, I can just tell that it would be nice.

But here’s where the vague similarity between recipe research and  my identification with strangers ends. I have never once walked up to one of these fellow walkers to chat, and I can’t say that I have a strong desire to; I’m content to leave them alone in their own universes.

The recipes, however, I keep.

Mustard-Roasted Potatoes (from B.A.)

1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. (1/4 stick) butter, melted
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
3 pounds 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter mixed unpeeled red-skinned and white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F.

Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray.

Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, lemon peel and salt in large bowl to blend. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you’re ready to roast the potatoes.

Add potatoes to the large bowl and stir to coat. Sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper.

Divide potatoes between two lightly greased baking sheets, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Reverse baking sheets and roast until potatoes are crusty outside and tender inside, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes longer.


Asparagus, pea and radish salad June 27, 2012

For the first time ever, I’m growing radishes in my yard. They’re terribly exciting because the red starts to show through the soil very early – and the greens grow to be enormous rather quickly.

As a result, I’m been looking for radish recipes – and something along these lines seems to be quite the thing this summer. It’s quick, easy and really delicious.

Note that it’s important to eat this right when it’s done. While it’s still edible, refrigeration does nothing good to the dish.

Asparagus, Pea and Radish Salad– adapted from a bunch of sources; everyone seems to like some combination of radishes and peas as a summer salad

2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill

1.5 lbs. asparagus, tough ends discarded
5 oz. frozen peas, thawed
8 or so radishes, greens discarded, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. butter

In a small bowl, whisk together cumin, lime juice and honey. Slowly add oil, then stir in dill. Set dressing aside (or refrigerate if you’re making ahead of time).

Steam asparagus until crisp-tender (less than you normally would), then immediately transfer to an ice bath. Let it cool completely, then pat dry. At this point, you can refrigerate the asparagus for up to a day.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium. Add asparagus and heat until it begins to get warm. Then add peas and cook until vegetables are warm, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and stir in radishes.

Pour dressing over and stir to coat. Serve immediately.


Summer corn fritters with tomato and avocado salsa May 23, 2012

Well, it certainly has been a while! Don’t worry – I’m still cooking like a fiend. Some of it just isn’t worth writing home to the internet about. But, my garden has been planted, and I ate the first fruits (a single, cute radish) this evening – so I decided it’s time to resume sharing all the wonderful things I’ve been eating.

Just to kick it off, here’s a lovely, delectable summer treat that simple to make and involves fresh corn. This is also, aside from one other horrific experience, the first thing I’ve ever fried. My boyfriend was quite pleased about being able to have fried food as a side dish to our dinner.

Fresh Corn Fritters
slightly adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

3 ears corn, shucked and cut from the cobs (scrape the juice from the cobs into the bowl as well)
1 cup flour
¼ cup diced red onion
½ cup cornmeal
¼ cup thinly sliced basil
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
salt and pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbs. buttermilk (you can also substitute greek yogurt)
2 Tbs. butter, melted
Vegetable oil for frying

Serve with tomato and avocado salsa (recipe below)

After getting the corn off the cob, place 2 cups of it into the food process and pulse several times to create a chunky puree. Return the mixture to the bowl with the remaining corn. Add the onions

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, basil, powder, soda, salt and pepper. Add to the corn mixture. Then, add in eggs, buttermilk (or yogurt) and butter, stirring just until combined.

Heat the oil in a skillet, and scoop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls in to create little fritters. Fry the cake 1 to 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Place on a baking sheet lined with paper, then pop them in a warm oven to stay warm while you finish cooking the remaining fritters. Top with tomato and avocado salsa.

Tomato and Avocado Salsa

1 large tomato, cored and diced
1 scallion, minced
½ jalepeno, cored, seeded and diced (I left this out because I had a heat-averse dining partner)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of ½ lime
1 ½ tsp. olive oil
1 ½ tsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 avocado, diced

Stir all ingredients (except avocado) together. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve, then add the avocado.

Per serving: 209 calories, 3 g saturated fat, 27.6 g carbohydrates, 3.8 g dietary fiber, 5.7 g protein,


Chipotle Mac and Cheese October 17, 2011

Finally – the leaves are beginning to turn and it’s cold enough that I get to wear  blazer-weight jackets around outside. That also means I get to start cooking heavier foods (without feeling guilty about it).

Mac and cheese was first on the list this fall. (Pumpkin things are coming next.) Now, we love mac and cheese here – we’ve made pumpkin Gruyere mac, nacho mac, and three cheese mac, and some other random cheese/pasta dishes.

This weekend, I was all about this easy chipotle mac. (I love all things chipotle, so I tweaked the original recipe to be spicier and more adobo-y. Watch out.)

Chipotle Mac and Cheese

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 – 3 Tbs. chipotle chilies in adobo, finely chopped
2 Tbs butter
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2.5 cups milk
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 lb noodles, such as macaroni, cooked al dente
8-oz cheese, such as cheddar and monterey jack, grated
1/8 cup breadcrumbs

In a large saucepan, cook butter, onion, garlic, and chipotles, stirring until onion is soft. Then, add flour and cook for about 3 more minutes. Whisking constantly, add the milk, then bring the mixture to a boil.   Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add pasta to the mixture, then stir in the cheese. Transfer the combination to a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.


End of Summer Rice September 12, 2011

Here in Philadelphia, it does not feel like summer has ended. It is muggy and hot and humid and muggy and humid. Yuck.

But on the bright side, my squash plant is finally showing signs of dying, so I’m delighting in what I finally know are the last squashes of summer. To celebrate, I’ve thrown together a nice rice dish that I served with sausage.

[Sorry, no photo. I packed it all up into little containers for my lunch this week before I snapped its picture.]

End of Summer Rice adapted from B.A. 

1 bell pepper, diced
2 small-medium squashes, diced
1 onion, diced
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
3 cups broth – or 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 3/4 cups water, if you’re, say, out of broth
Cayenne pepper to taste

Cook the diced veggies in olive oil, stirring frequently, until onions begin to become translucent and all have softened. Then, add rice and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Dump in your liquid and spices, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until water has been absorbed.

Healthy, simple, and delicious with some nice spicy Italian sausage on top.


Spicy Ginger Carrot Soup September 1, 2011

Filed under: Appetizer,Dinner,Lunch,Side dish,Soup,Vegetarian — Michelle Jackson @ 10:41 pm
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A spicy-sweet and light end-of-summery dish that’s easy to make with the help of an oven and a blender (or food processor).

1 lb carrots (I used peeled baby carrots)

1 1 1/2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger

1 small sweet potato, cut into smallish pieces

3 cloves garlic

1 medium onion

2-3 cups vegetable broth (or water)

Salt, pepper, paprika, and Sriracha to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast the carrots,  garlic, and chopped sweet potato for about 45 minutes, rotating so they don’t burn on one side. I wrapped the unpeeled garlic gloves in aluminum foil to roast them separately. Saute the ginger and onion in a small skillet until the onions are translucent and the ginger is fragrant (don’t let anything blacken.) When cool enough to handle, transfer the sautéed ingredients and roasted ingredients to blender (or food processor) in batches and puree with vegetable broth (or about 2-3 cups of water) to desired thickness. Season to taste with black pepper, salt, paprika, and hot sauce. Best eaten cold with a toasted baguette.


Summer Squash Soup, Two Ways August 6, 2011

When I was small, my parents had an expansive garden. We grew multiple types of green beans, squash, melons, peas, tomatoes, and a bajillion other things. The garden was so large that my punishment for doing really stupid things was weeding the entire thing alone.

My dad’s terraced handiwork and hours pouring over seed catalogs in the winter meant that we were incredibly well-fed with homegrown goodness. And, at least one summer, it meant that our kitchen was unbearably overrun with zucchini. At one point, the zucchini got so big that my sister and I wrapped two up in blankets and teased my mother that they were going to replace any other dolls we had.

Suffice it to say, for several years, I literally could not each zucchini or summer squash. Could not, could not, could not eat it.

So, I’m not exactly positive what made me decide to plant so much squash in my little raised planter bed in my little yard. [Yes, that’s a photo of my yard. And, you know what, I can’t see my raised planter either. That’s how big those plants are.]

So, what do you do when you need to get rid of pounds and pounds of squash, but don’t feel like eating it for breakfast?

Squash soup, two kinds: Squash soup with dill and Summer squash-corn soup. Note that these are really good side dish soups, not great main dish soups.

Then put everything you can’t eat in the freezer for later.

Summer squash-corn soup

1 lb. summer squash, cut in half, then into 1/2 in slices
2 cups corn
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbs. olive oil
2.5 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
Chili powder
Red pepper flakes

In a heavy pot, combine corn, squash, onion, oil and garlic. Saute all together for 3 to 5 minutes, or until squash begins to soften and onion begins to become translucent. Add spices to taste for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Let soup cool, then puree soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Garnish soup with thin squash slices, and spice with salt and pepper to taste.

Squash soup with dill

1/2 Tbs. butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
Salt, pepper, and dill
2.25 lbs. summer squash, cut in half, then into 1/2 in. slices
2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1-2 Tbs. olive oil

Melt butter, then cook onion and half the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add squash and cook for 3-5 more minutes. Add dill and broth. Bring to broth, then reduce to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until squash is tender.

Let soup cool, then puree soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.